Saturday, April 25, 2015

Best advice about learning?
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(Adapted from
The best piece of advice
I ever received
about learning
was to start
by reading a children's book
about whatever topic
I wanted to study
the language would be simple,
the important points would be obvious,
the overall text
would be much more interesting
than a so-called adult book
about the same topic.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Beyond Narnia and Middle Earth: The Other Worlds of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien (and friends)

If you have been through the wardrobe with Lucy... 

If you have wandered from home with Bilbo...

If you have dwelt, even for a while, in Narnia and/or in Middle Earth...

Then come explore the other worlds of Lewis and Tolkien....

Saturday, April 18, 2015 from 2 - 5:30 p.m.

Congregation Ohr Chadash

3190 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd., Clearwater, Florida 33759
Free and Open to the Public; an offering will be received to help defray travel expenses. Mr. Hamilton will have books available for sale and will remain to sign books after the sessions. 

Suggested readings: Surprised by Joy and Till We Have Faces by Lewis; Leaf by Niggle by Tolkien (not for sale at the event)

Author, editor, and teacher Dan Hamilton  will present biblio-biographical overviews of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. Between sessions, Rabbi Dr. John Fischer and Dr. Patrice Fischer will lead a panel discussion on the impact of Lewis's and Tolkien's works. Dan will conclude the afternoon with a short discussion of related authors and works.

While Lewis and Tolkien are, perhaps, best known for their high fantasies The Chronicles of Narnia (Lewis) and The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy (Tolkien), both writers explored other fictional worlds and both struggled to reconcile their created worlds with this real, much more mundane world they inhabited -- and to reconcile both with the realm of the eternal they sensed was just on the other side of the veil. 

Dan noted that Lewis, in De Descriptione Temporum, his address upon receiving his professorship at Cambridge, identified himself as one of the last surviving specimens of "old Western Man."

"By that," Dan said, "Lewis meant, in part, a person who was educated (and saturated) in the classics of Western literature and still believed strongly in absolute values and rational thinking."

Dan will explore Lewis's life through a discussion of the books he wrote at various periods. In particular, Dan will focus on Surprised by Joy, Lewis's fairly straightforward recounting of his spiritual life from childhood on, and Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold.

"Till We have Faces, a reimagining of the mythical story of Psyche and Eros, contains a number of subtler autobiographical elements," Dan explained. "TWHF is a story that Lewis had wrestled with for decades; it didn't finally fall together for him until after meeting Joy Davidman and working on Surprised by Joy and The Four Loves."

"Similarly, the short story "Leaf by Niggle" sheds light on the post-Hobbit period in Tolkien's life when he was beginning to despair that he would live long enough to finish The Lord of the Rings," Dan said. 

Over the past 30 years, Dan Hamilton has edited a number of George MacDonald's works, making them more accessible to modern American audiences*. He has lectured on the Inklings and related authors, and with Dr. Ed Brown wrote In Pursuit of C. S. Lewis, which tells the story of the Lewis collection at Taylor University.

Additionally, Dan and his wife, Elizabeth, helped buy, rescue, and preserve The Kilns, C. S. Lewis’ home from 1930 on, where he wrote the Narnia series and many of his other books. Dan co-founded the C. S. Lewis and Friends Society at Taylor University and the Central Indiana C. S. Lewis Society in Indianapolis.

Dan's trilogyTales of the Forgotten God (The Beggar King, The Chameleon Lady, and The Everlasting Child) will be joined later this year by The Inn at the End of the World.

Rabbi Dr. John Fischer and his wife, Associate Rabbi Dr. Patrice Fischer, lead Congregation Ohr Chadash, a Messianic Jewish Synagogue, in Clearwater, Florida. Additionally, both are faculty members of St. Petersburg Seminary and Yeshiva and have written numerous books and articles. 

Congregation Ohr Chadash is located at the east end of Gulf-to-Bay Blvd. and at the beginning of the approach to the Courtney Campbell Causeway (SR 60). Turn left at the light onto Bayshore Blvd., and the synagogue, which faces Gulf-to-Bay, will be immediately on your left. 

For more information about the event, please visit our Facebook page.

*I am indebted to Dan's work as it introduced me to several of MacDonald's children's novels I hadn't known existed. In the early 1980s, I purchased Dan's edited versions of The Wanderings of Clare Skymer, The Boyhood of Ranald Bannerman, and The Genius of Willie MacMichael for our sons. Thirty years later, as I was reading about the British 1870 Education Act, which was the beginning of compulsory public education, I recalled the ideas about education MacDonald had discussed in The Genius of Willie MacMichael or, as MacDonald originally titled it, The History of Gutta-Percha Willie, Working Genius. I realized that MacDonald knew the men involved in proposing and lobbying for the 1870 Education Act -- and that The History of Gutta Percha Willie, Working Genius, most probably was his contribution to the discussion. This became a paper, "Straddling Boundaries: Gutta Percha Willie and the 1870 Education Act," published in North Wind: A Journal of George MacDonald Studies. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Can I just say...

...Nutella on a half of a day-old croissant is luscious!